And They're underway!
13 of the first 15 days this month have me working, including the entire opening week. What's NaNoWriMo without my life giving me the challenge?
This opening bit is zombie free. Figure I need to introduce our protagonist before we bury him in the undead.....
...This story has nooooooothing to do with the ebola crisis *cough*
Current status of my 2014 NaNoWriMo: 3,415 / 50,000 (46,585 words to go!)
Current pace has me writing my 50,000th word on: November 30
[Race for Safe Haven - Bar Banter]
The television went from the warning graphic to the scene of a man behind a news desk. Before the man opened his mouth, the boos and hissing from everyone at the bar drowned out all sound from the television. Peanut shells and crumpled napkins were tossed at the screen and yells to change the channel were sounding off. The bartender fumbled for the remote to ease the suddenly angry mob.
It wasn't that the program being interrupted was of any particular interest to anyone; most of the patrons were ignoring the television anyway. It was the fact that the special report was going to talk about the same tired news story that no one wanted to hear about anymore. Validation to that fact was granted as a familiar graphic was shown behind the newsman as he talked, still inaudible to the irate crowd as the bartender finally pointed the remote to the screen and changed the channel. A west coast baseball game appeared and the bar was content once more, most of them turning away from the television and returning to whatever they were occupying themselves with before the special report invaded their attention.
The special report that everyone wanted to ignore was about the disease that originated overseas but found its way to America. The media dubbed it "The W-F epidemic" named for something few people cared to pay attention to. All that was relevant was that in the third world where this disease originated, it was proving to be a serious situation. When it spread to places like America, it was wrote off as something that could be managed with superior health care. When that proved to be wrong, drastic measures were taken and anyone infected reported to quarantine. Fatalities were rare, but the general population braced for the eventuality. In the meantime, people just wanted to go about their business and not have to be forced to endure any more reporting on the matter.
Rhett sat at his usual spot at the bar, one hand on a beer and the other supporting his head as he felt a headache starting. A patron sitting next to him turned around from watching the television and looked to Rhett. "I swear," he started regardless if Rhett wanted the conversation or not "I swear not a day goes by where I can watch a minute of TV without someone cramming down my throat this...this," he paused as he mentally groped for a word. "Sickness...disease...epidemic..."
"Infection," Rhett said with his eyes closed, trying to will the oncoming headache away "Let's just call it that." The headache cared not for what Rhett wanted. "Nah," the man to his left said "Epidemic is better. That's what the news calls it. This thing is everywhere."
"Whatever," Rhett mumbled.
"I heard about this quarantine people enter," the man continued "And they apparently get an information blackout. No TV, no radio, no internet. Nothing. I think it's wrong that us healthy people gotta hear about this epidemic more than the people sick with it have to."
"They got to live with it though," a man to Rhett's right chimed in "I think that qualifies as hearing about it more often."
"No," the man on the left said unable to be swayed from his original position.
"They're dead," a woman on the right side of Rhett said "My boyfriend's brother works at one of the hospitals in Miami treating these people. He says they're putting down all W-F patients."
"My neighbor visited her sister in quarantine yesterday," the man on the right said "Nobody's killing anyone."
"It's the only way to stop it," the woman said "Kill the ones already infected, save the healthy people while there's still time."
"That's just not true," the man on the left said.
"The conditions are deplorable, I know that," the man on the right said "Not enough space for all the sick people. The underestimated the number of infections over here."
"So what's to say they don't euthanize a few hopeless cases here and there to free up some room?" the woman asked.
"I know there are some protests over these conditions," the man on the left said "And I heard some people are starting to lash out inside there, but nothing fatal is going on."
"People ARE dying from this!" the woman said feeling like that would invalidate any argument against her."
"In Africa, yeah," the man on the right said "This is America. No one's dying here."
"Guy in California died," the man on the left said.
"One guy," the other man said "Out of how many?"
"The African death tolls are exaggerated," yet another man decided to enter the conversation "They said some of the early deaths were inaccurately reported."
"Yeah, I remember that," the man on the right said "Like they magically came back to life?"
"I thought no one wanted to hear about this shit?" Rhett said aloud as everyone quieted down to regard him as he closed his eyes tight and tried to ride out the early part of his headache.
"You don't look too good," the man on the right announced. "Oh God, he's infected!" the man on the left shouted as he jumped back. The entire bar soon grew quiet as Rhett suddenly found there was distance between him and everyone else.
"Now you want to call it an infection?" Rhett said as he found the sudden silence somewhat preferable for his headache. "Calm down," the bartender announced as he made his way over "What's going on?"
"What's going on?" the man on the left repeated the question as he pointed to Rhett "I think this guy is sick and I don't want to catch this thing."
"Idiots," Rhett said as he popped an eye open to regard the man "It's a cold. Happens all the time. It's not this God damn plague."
"Liar!" the man on the left said.
"I have a headache and my sinuses are getting clogged," Rhett snapped "This time tomorrow I'll be puking and sneezing all over the place."
"Puking...nausea...that's a symptom!" the man said.
"Stop being hysterical," Rhett said as he turned to regard the bartender "A little backup?"
The bartender calmly took Rhett's empty glass. "This so-called infected guy, Rhett, has been coming here for as long as I've been tending this bar. Every year bout this time he gets the same damn cold and I don't see him for about a week because of it."
"Still..." the man on the left said, not convinced. "Do you have a fever?" the bartender asked Rhett. Rhett shook his head. "No matter what other symptom is present, there's always a fever." Other people in the bar began to go about their own business again, sure that Rhett wasn't sick in any meaningful way. "Are you sure...about the fever?" the man asked. "Just because you don't want to watch these reports on it doesn't mean other people ignore them. They talk about that symptom all the time," the bartender said.
Rhett was no longer the center of attention. In fact, most people gave him distance. "Why are you here, Rhett?" the bartender asked after dealing with a few other patrons. "I have a plan," Rhett said with a smirk "You said it yourself, every damn year I get this cold. Tomorrow It'll be hitting me all the way. I'm gonna drown myself in alcohol before that happens."
"You think that'll cure you or something?" the bartender asked with an arched eyebrow. "Nah," Rhett said "But it might take the edge off." The bartender smiled and shook his head. "Another beer?" he asked.
"Nah. Hit me with something harder," Rhett said "Jagermeister."
"Red bull in it?"
"Straight. I need to take my medicine."
The bartender laughed as he disappeared and came back with a tall glass of dark liquid, more than Rhett was used to getting. "Holy shit," he responded. "Just making sure you get the right dosage," the bartender said. "You should be a doctor," Rhett said as he took the glass and took a large gulp, scrunching his face as he swallowed.